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Africa officials urge new financing to boost growth of film industry

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- There is need for African governments and industry to explore innovative financing schemes alongside enactment of robust policies to spur growth of cinema and audio visual industry, officials have said.

Speaking at a media roundtable ahead of the Africa Film Festival to be held in Nairobi from Oct. 12 to 16, the officials said a vibrant creative industry will boost the continent’s soft power and economic growth.

Jane Munene, the Executive Director of Nairobi-based Pan African Federation of Filmmakers said the nascent cinema and audio-visual industry in Africa has potential for growth subject to adequate financing and skills development.

"We need to encourage production of African films to tell authentic stories of this continent to the world.

"However, huge resources, conducive policies and regulations are key to achieve this objective," said Munene.

The upcoming African film festival in Nairobi will be attended by policy makers, content developers and investors to discuss growth of a sector that contributes 5 billion U.S. dollars to the continent’s economy.

Munene said African governments are keen to promote growth of film industry through establishment of supportive policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks.

"There is need to encourage private sector financing of Africa’s cinema and audio-visual industry. Filmakers must therefore come up with content that has a competitive edge," Munene said.

She revealed that a high level dialogue between financiers and filmmakers will be held during the African Film Festival.

The African Union member states have adopted several charters to promote growth of cinema and audio visual industry in the continent.

Munene noted that greater political goodwill has fostered growth of film industry in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Zimbabwe.

She emphasized that a robust Pan African film industry will enable the continent achieve its socio-economic transformation goals outlined in the Agenda 2063.

African countries have grappled with inadequate resources and manpower alongside outdated policies that have undermined the growth of film industry.

Ernest Kerich, the Director, Department of Film Services in Kenya’s ministry of sports, culture and arts said that structured financing coupled with training and public outreach are key to catalyze growth of cinema and audio-visual industry in Africa.

"Growth of a strong Pan African film industry will not only create jobs for the youth but also promote integration, peace and cohesion in the continent," Kerich said.

He added that a vibrant film industry in Africa has potential to contribute 20 billion U.S. dollars to the continent’s economy in the near future.



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